Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs)
A range of technologies broadly referred to as Assisted Reproductive Technologies have been developed and applied in animals. These include:
- Estrous synchronization: This refers to the use of hormones to ensure that female animals are in heat at the same time. This is often done in preparation for Artificial Insemination.
- Artificial insemination: Semen obtained from a choice bull is introduced into the female. This is sometines referred to as “bull in a bottle”. The advantage of this is that germplasm from a bull located anywhere in the world can be introduced into the herd without bearing the costs and inconvenience that would be involved in moving the bull physically. In Swaziland, artificial insemination is used in dairy cattle and pigs.
- Embryo transfer: In this case, a superior cow is induced to super-ovulate. Semen is then introduced to effect fertilization. The resulting embryos are then harvested and possibly frozen for storage before being introduced into surrogate cows.